China factory activity held steady in May, index shows

The factory Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 56.7 in May from 57.3 in April. Moreover, there was a renewed decline in new export orders. The positive figure means the bloc's economy is enjoying a stable and broad-based recovery, which will be welcomed by policymakers at the European Central Bank.

IHS Markit Ltd senior economist Paul Smith said in a statement that the "latest data dashed hopes of a sustained manufacturing upturn in Malaysia, with the headline PMI returning to contraction territory".

Manufacturing posted its fastest growth in nearly two years in May as employment surged, a survey showed today.

"May's PMI signaled a further worsening of conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector". Work backlogs have fallen since the beginning of 2017, and purchasing activity has also fallen with inflation down to a five-month low.

An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due next week, also climbed further above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.


Strong competitive pressures forced manufacturers to lower their factory gate prices as cost burdens grew, squeezing profit margins.

Despite sterling's prolonged weakness, input prices for construction firms rose at the slowest pace for seven months.

Among member nations, Germany stayed atop the PMI growth rankings with fastest gains in output, new orders and jobs.

"Political tensions around THAAD continued to undermine new export business with China, according to panelists", Nikkei/Markit said in the statement, referring to Beijing's opposition to South Korea's decision to install a USA -designed anti-missile system to counter North Korea. "Growth of new export business played a lesser role in comparison, with the trend in foreign demand continuing to improve only in fits and starts, despite the assistance of a historically weak sterling exchange rate".

Overall, orders were growing at the second-fastest rate in the past three years, just off April's peak - matching similar upbeat results in a survey by the Confederation of British Industry earlier this month.


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